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Yemen is culturally rich. Its impressive architecture, with its unique houses, has been integrated seamlessly into the spectacular landscape. Literature, including poetry, has been passed on orally to new generations, enriching the language with many aphorisms and proverbs. Popular culture has a rough, masculine edge to it, but Yemeni language and speech are eloquent, poetic, and powerful.

The 2011 Arab Spring was not orchestrated by Facebook and Twitter users in Yemen to the extent that it was in Egypt, Tunisia, and Syria. On the Midan al-Taghyir (Change Square) in Sanaa there was a prominent role for poets such as Mohammed al-Adrui, who combined traditional tribal zamil poetry (of pre-Islamic origin) with modern rap.

Further Reading

The most visually striking feature of Yemen is undoubtedly its architecture. Houses seem to hang from rocks at the most unlikely places, blending in with the steep and spectacular landscape. Western architects typify Yemeni archit...
Yemeni popular culture reflects the roughness of life, climate, and terrain, but Yemeni language and speech can be very eloquent. Conversations are laden with proverbs and sometimes turn into verbal jousts. This may reflect zamil,...
Yemeni music is little known outside the country. There are few famous Yemeni singers, as the musicians and songwriters have only limited resources for recording and marketing their music. Nevertheless, rumour has it that Yemeni s...
Khadija al-Salami has produced numerous documentaries and films, often focusing on the subordinate role of women in Yemeni society.
Yemeni men traditionally wear a thawb (also called zanna, futa), a large cloth wrapped around their waist, held together with a broad, coloured belt and a dagger, and a buttoned shirt and a jacket. You can tell a man’s tribe and...
Yemeni restaurants are lively places, with groups of men – women are seldom seen in restaurants – eating food from pots and plates placed between them. Yemenis do not use cutlery; eating with the right hand is the norm.
Yemen is not a very sport-minded nation. Soccer is played by Yemeni kids in the alleys and streets. There are hardly any athletic grounds or gymnasiums. In 2005, Yemen's national football team was suspended by FIFA for alleged cor...


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